for the HD Patient
We can recommend the type
of shoe or sneaker that would best accommodate the variety of walking problems
that are related to HD. Orthotics or shoe inserts may be recommended to maintain
proper foot and ankle positioning if this is problem.
a. Walking stick;
b. Foot positioning device for wheelchair;
c. wedge cushion for wheelchair positioning;
d. Insole for foot support
Canes or walkers can be
useful to help keep people with HD walking for a longer amount of time. Most
importantly, assistive devices can prevent falls, which often can lead to
fractures or worse. Specialized 4-wheeled walkers have been very useful for
many people with HD. They have small seats (to use if you get tired), a basket
to carry personal items, can move over a variety of terrain, and can help
individuals maintain a natural walking pattern. See
A variety of adaptive
equipment is available to assist with eating, bathing, dressing and various
daily life skills. We recently purchased many commonly used adaptive devices
so that patients who come to the HD clinic can try the equipment before they
go out and purchase it.
Adapted equipment for feeding 1
a. weighted spoons, forks and knife prescribed for individuals with weakness in hand muscles and chorea;
b. weighted cup with lid for individuals with muscle weakness and incoordination to prevent spillage;
c. scoop plate and dysum mat for individuals with muscle weakness and incoordination and to revent spillage.
Adapted equipment for feeding
a. Foam tubing to build up handles for better grip;
b. Water bottle with lid and spout for regulating amount of fluid intake;
c. Wrist weight for individuals with mild chorea;
d. Utensil with suction cup to provide stability for individuals with incoordination;
e. Dysum sheet;
f. Thera-putty for exercising hand muscles;
g. Travel mug with lid;
h. Therapeutic weights with strap
Wheelchairs can be beneficial
for occassional use for long distance mobility (to go shopping, or to the
airport), or for daily use, when walking is no longer a feasible option.
We can make wheelchair recommendations at the HD Clinic, or we can refer
you to the specialized Wheelchair Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Exercise is one of the
most important ways that many people with HD feel they are able to fight
off the effects of the disease process. We can recommend a variety of exercise
programs to meet any individual's specific needs. We also can make referrals
to physical therapists in the New York City Metropolitan area so that you
can receive more intensive physical therapy near or in your home if necessary.
Although not universally recognized as a therapeutic option, we have included a message from a family member whose brother first rode horseback at HD Camp and now rides each week at a nearby therapeutic stable. See Horseback-Riding.
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